This is one of the quintessential French desserts and it’s actually quite easy to make. It’s basically a baked custard/batter with fruit.
Cherries are a traditional, but you can use other fruit like blueberries or apricots.
I use frozen cherries that I allowed to thaw. This is mainly because fresh cherries here in Ireland are really expensive, and because the frozen type usually have the stones removed. Purists argue that the cherry stones add an almond flavour, but I think this is nonsense.
If you have a blender you can make the batter in this or just use a bowl and whisk if you don’t. This should normally be cooked in a round pie dish and served in wedges. I didn’t have one, so my clafoutis is was probably a little deeper than the regular type. It also looks prettier cooked in a round dish but ho hum, you use what you have.
It’s usually served just warm or at room temperature. It’s traditionally served with whipped cream, but ice cream is also delicious.
For the fruit
450 Grams Cherries (fresh or frozen)
3 Tbsp Caster sugar
For the batter
100 Grams Caster sugar (plus a little extra to coat the baking dish)
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
200 Mil Milk
150 Grams Plain flour
30 Grams Butter (melted and allowed to cool slightly, plus extra for greasing the dish)
Cover the cherries with 3 Tbsp of sugar and allow to macerate for an hour
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
Add the milk, salt, vanilla extract, and eggs to a blender and give a quick blitz
Add the flour to the blender and whizz for 1 minute, before adding the cooled melted butter. Whiz for another 30 seconds
Rub a knob of butter along the inside of your baking dish, and a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the dish and shake this around the dish so that it sticks to the butter. Discard any sugar that hasn’t stuck to the butter
Spread your fruit across the base of the dish, and then gently pour over the custard
Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. To check if the clafoutis is cooked, stick a knife in the centre of the dish and if it comes out clean the clafoutis is cooked. If it doesn’t give it another 5 minutes and check again
This dish is from the south of France, and is like a cross between a tart and a pizza.
Just warning you from the outset, this is what I would call a weekend recipe. Some elements can take a while. None of it is difficult but things like caramelising the onions, or proving the dough can take a while. So I usually make this at weekends when I’m pottering around and can do things like laundry while the dough proves.
If you see anchovies and immediately say no way, I would recommend giving this a chance. The sweetness of the onions, definitely tempers the fishiness of the anchovies and the combination works nicely.
If you really are anchovy phobic you can swap it for roasted red pepper, this also allows vegans and vegetarians to enjoy it (just remember to swap out the butter for olive oil if cooking for vegans or people who are dairy free).
This can also be eaten hot of cold, I love it with a cold beer or glass of wine.
For the dough
2 Tsp Dried yeast
250 Grams Plain flour
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 Tsp Salt
For the topping
40 Grams Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1.5 Kg Onions (Finely Sliced)
1 Tbsp Dried thyme
24 Black olives
16 Anchovy Fillets (or slices of roast pepper if you don’t like anchovies
To make the dough, mix the dried yeast with 120 ml of warm water (not too hot or you’ll kill the yeast), leave in a warm place for 10 minutes until a froth appears on top of the mixture.
Sift the flour into a bowl and add the salt, olive oil and yeast mixture. Mix until the dough forms a ball. Turn out onto to a floured surface, and knead for 10 minutes (or use a mixer with a dough hook, but personally I like to do it by hand its very therapeutic if you’ve had a stressful week)
Rub a bowl with olive oil, put your kneaded bowl of dough in the bowl and cover lightly with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel (or I always use the little disposable shower caps you get into hotels), leave in a warm space for 1-2 hours
Remove the dough from the bowl and knock the air out of the dough with a light punch (like OI said this can be very therapeutic). Knead for a couple of minutes and then cover again and leave in a warm place until the dough doubles in size
For the topping, melt the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and half the thyme and cook over a gentle for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are dark and caramelised
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees (Celsius), and grease a 34 cm x 26 cm baking tray. Roll your dough out thinly to fit the baking tray and transfer the dough to the baking tray and brush lightly with oil
Spread the cooled onion mixture evenly across the dough
Lay the anchovies on top of the onion mixture in a rough lattice pattern, and the olives should go in between the diamonds created in the lattice. It’s a rustic dish, so don’t panic if doesn’t look entirely uniform
Inside the walls of the medieval city there are numerous cafes and restaurants selling everything from crepes and baguettes through to fine dining restaurants.
The Occitane region enjoys a great climate and has lots of regional specialities. Truffles are found locally and are highly prized. People either love or hate them, but I adore them. Weight for weight white truffles are more expensive than gold. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to afford the fist sized truffles kept under glass cloches. However, specialist shops sell a range of products including truffle oil, truffle honey, tapenade and truffle salt.
The other main speciality of the region is cassoulet. If you haven’t had it before it’s a rich dish of white beans, duck legs, and Toulouse sausage. You can find this in pretty much every restaurant in Caracasonne. Like every peasant dish, this is made to fill you up and keep you feeling full. While it’s delicious it’s important to warn that you will probably need to lie down after eating of it, but it is good fuel for sight seeing.
We found great little bistros that offered simple tasty food, starting at 3 courses for 15 Euros for the daily Prix Fixe menu, and were happy enough to stay with these.
These bistro meals were usually uncomplicated with cheese, soup or charcuterie to start, fish or meat for the main and dessert or cheese to finish.
The area also has some great wine. We usually orded the house wine, which was affordable and very drinkable.